Rejecting any possibility of an alliance with the Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the Aam Aadmi Party Thursday said that it will have no truck with the Congress in “2019 or beyond”.
“The Congress should not be under any illusion that we want an alliance. We will contest all seats in Delhi, Punjab, Goa. The CM has been saying repeatedly that voting for the Congress will strengthen the BJP’s prospects. The Congress has no organisation left in Delhi. There is no question of any alliance in 2019 or beyond,” AAP chief spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj told The Indian Express.
Recently, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief M K Stalin had reportedly told Kejriwal that the AAP should explore mending ties with the Congress for the larger good. Telugu Desam Party supremo N Chandrababu Naidu has also advocated the need for a united opposition.
“Friendly parties keep telling us that an alliance with the Congress is essential to prevent the split of anti-BJP votes in 2019. They stress on the need to keep secular votes consolidated. On the other hand, our party units in Delhi and Punjab have always been against any such understanding. The recent hostile statements by (Punjab CM) Amarinder Singh and (DPCC chief) Sheila Dikshit have strengthened our position. We will convey this message to other parties,” sources in the AAP said.
While the two sides never acknowledged that talks were on, the coalition buzz had become more pronounced after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal stated publicly that “the AAP will do everything that is needed to defeat the duo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah”.
While the AAP Delhi unit believes that tying up with the Congress will revive the party, which has been decimated in the capital, its Punjab unit has stressed that Congress is its principal rival in the state.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had earlier told The Indian Express that any understanding with the Congress was difficult keeping the 2020 Assembly polls in mind.
Meanwhile, a senior AAP leader said Kejriwal, who will attend a major gathering of opposition leaders on January 19 to be hosted by the Trinamool Congress in Kolkata, is likely to announce the names of AAP Lok Sabha candidates for Delhi and Punjab.